Now listening to Martha by Tom Waits.— Fourfoot (@fourfoot) November 20, 2016
Nobody comes close when it comes to crushing final lines in recorded music. Nobody.
I too revisited Martha recently (along with the other 13 songs on the excellent Asylum Years compilation), and Fourfoot is totally right about that last line. If you haven't heard it before, do yourself a favour and have a quick listen now:
"And I remember quiet evenings, trembling close to you"
Fourfoot's assertion about Tom Waits and his talent for devastating final lines got me thinking, not just about the last lines of songs but about the last lines of albums. A good last line leaves you reeling long after the song has ended, and that impact is magnified tenfold when there's not another song straight after it.
So what we're looking for here are closing tracks with jaw-dropping final lines that provide the perfect end for both the song and its parent album. Below are a few of my favourites - feel free to suggest a few of your own in the comments or on Twitter (I'm @TheAlbumWall).
"So Jesus isn't coming here to pick you up,
You'll still be sitting right here ten years from now,
You're just a sucker, but we'll see who gets the last laugh,
Who knows? Maybe you'll get to be the next Queen of Denmark."
- Queen of Denmark by John Grant (from Queen of Denmark)
"To love and to be loved: let's just hope that is enough."
- Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and to Be Loved) by Bright Eyes (from Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground)
"If we don't remember, the dead will rise again,
To kick our fucking heads in for not remembering."
- Lady Killer by The Crocketts (from The Great Brain Robbery)
"Then I woke up cold one morning,
Felt an absence at my back,
And I searched and stared but only the river stared back"
- Okkervil River Song by Okkervil River (from Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See)
"I am relieved that the turbulence wasn't forecasted,
I couldn't have changed anyways,
I am relieved that I'd left my room tidy.
- Last Words of a Shooting Star by Mitski (from Bury Me at Makeout Creek)
"The not knowing is easy,
And the suspecting, that's okay,
Just don't tell me for certain that our love's gone away,
It's gone away."
- The Not Knowing by Tindersticks (from Tindersticks)